Lesson 70—June 21, 2015
Audio Commentary by David Daniel- Life Focus Teacher
Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20
Lesson Goal: To gain an understanding of the Law of God and of true righteousness.
Let us begin by wishing all fathers a very happy Father’s Day. Guys, you might find it interesting that although the first Father’s Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, in 1910, it was not until 1972 that Father’s Day was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
Father’s Day is a special day to express love and appreciation to our dads and others, such as grandfathers (I want to make sure I state this important fact), for the influence and contributions they have made in our lives. Whether through a card, note, telephone call, text or a hug, if you are blessed with the opportunity, please express your love and gratitude to those who have filled such an important role in your life.
Today is also a special time for fathers to remember their families and how truly blessed of God we are. Let us each express our thanksgiving to our heavenly Father for His many wonderful blessings. May we never take our families and loved ones for granted. Please take a moment to testify and give God thanks for the men who have influenced your life. Happy Father’s Day!
Matthew 5:19—As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to set aside or disregard the laws of God. We (true believers) should not have the mindset and heart that the Law is unimportant or unnecessary. In verse 19, Jesus speaks concerning the individual’s responsibility to keep the Law, as well as the responsibility to properly teach the Law to others. He calls on His followers to do a genuine examination of our own lives concerning the Law and how we are teaching, influencing and leading others concerning the Law. Based upon verses 3-18, we have an understanding of how all areas of our lives witness that we are followers of Jesus Christ. The true believer’s character is to be evident in the living out of the truths of verses 3-12. The importance of our influence is revealed in verses 13-16, and now we find in verses 17-20 the importance of our understanding of the Law as it was fulfilled in Jesus. But as believers, we are not to disregard the Law, nor are we to teach others to disregard it.
In verses 17 and 18, Jesus declared that He came to fulfill the Law. He
did not come to diminish or disobey it. As we understand Jesus’ attitude and response, we can then understand His words in verse 19. Followers of Jesus Christ are to obey the laws of God, not disobey or dismiss them. We are held responsible for how we lead and teach others. Whoever lives and teaches the truth will receive a positive result, but whoever lives and teaches dismissing the truth will receive a negative result. Followers of Jesus Christ should have a reverence for God’s law (God’s Word) and have a desire to please and honor Him in all things. None of God’s commandments are to be disregarded. The person who teaches others to disregard God’s law (Word) will incur a stricter judgment.
John MacArthur shares a very important thought:
Jesus’ warning does not simply apply to official or formal teachers. Every person teaches. By our example we continually help those around us either to be more obedient or more disobedient. We also teach by what we say. When we speak lovingly and respectfully of God’s Word, we teach love and respect for it. When we speak despairingly or slightingly of God’s Word, we teach disregard and disrespect for it. When we ignore its demands, we give loud testimony to its unimportance to us. Kingdom citizens are to uphold every part of God’s law, both in their living and in their teaching.
(V20) In verse twenty we find the theme and thrust of Jesus’ great sermon, as well as the heart of His message. Jesus begins with the words: “I say to you.” This expression is found fourteen times in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus speaks with the reminder of His absolute authority. The words that follow “I say to you” are the words that rock Jesus’ listeners’ world. For them, how could anyone be more righteous than a Pharisee? If it takes more righteousness to enter the kingdom of heaven than the Pharisees possessed, how can anyone make it?
Please read Romans 10:13-14.
The Israelites confused righteousness with a strict adherence to the Law as recorded in the Pentateuch. Indeed, the Jewish religious leaders added numerous amendments to the Law. Zealous obedience to the Law was equated with righteousness. Yet mere external compliance to a set of rules did not please the Lord. What God wanted was repentant, humbled hearts that truly worshipped Him. The Jews, through external obedience to the Law and their traditions, were attempting to justify themselves before God (see Romans 9:31-32). No good work or outward appearance of piety can restore a proper relationship with God (see Isaiah 64:6) (Believer’s Study Bible).
What could not be accomplished by man, Jesus accomplished. Jesus Christ satisfied the demands of the Law—righteousness.
Please read Romans 3:20-22, Romans 4:5, and Titus 3:4-5.
No amount of self-righteousness, however righteous one may appear in his own eyes or present himself to be by outward appearance, will ever meet the demands of the Law. Please read Matthew 23:1-36.
Jesus never told the people to follow the Pharisees—not their examples or teachings! Yet for generations, the Pharisees had been regarded as the most strict (the best of the best) keepers of the Law and the Scriptures.
For years, it seemed to have been the Pharisees who defined righteousness to the people. Now Jesus declares that if you are going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, your righteousness must surpass the righteousness of these supreme religionist called Pharisees. In this bold statement, Jesus was sounding forth the trumpet call to true righteousness not demonstrated by outward appearance, but by the inward attitude and action of the heart—righteousness that came as a result of the transforming power of God. Righteousness that began in the heart and was evidenced by the actions and attitudes of life.
The character explained and demonstrated in Matthew 5:3-12 does not produce this righteousness, but rather the character of these verses testifies to the reality of this righteousness in the heart of the true believer.
• How is it possible for you to be righteous?
• How important is it that we (true believers) live our lives in a godly manner?
As a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I do not serve Christ because I fear His punishment or wrath. I serve Him because I love Him. Because of my love for Him, I will seek to honor Him with all my life, my attitudes and my actions. I understand that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I was not saved by my own works of righteousness, and I understand that I am not kept by the works of my own righteousness. I understand that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have been set free from the slavery of sin and have been liberated to be a slave to serve Jesus Christ. I am a slave to Jesus, not by duty or the Law’s demand, but by my love for Him and my choice to follow Him. The Law, and the keeping of the Law, is not my master—Jesus IS MY MASTER!!
Now for one of the most important questions you will ever be called upon to answer—please be prayerful and honest.
• Who or what is your master?
The master of our lives is that to which we give time, devotion, loyalty, finances, thoughts, and even our goals, wishes and dreams. Who or what is your master?